Bread and butter (superstition)
"Bread and butter" is a superstitious blessing or charm, typically said by young couples or friends walking together when they are forced to separate by an obstacle, such as a pole or another person. By saying the phrase, the bad luck of letting something come between them is thought to be averted. Both walkers must say the phrase, and if they do not do this, then a bitter quarrel is expected to occur. Many believe that the person who splits the pole has to say it first, however that is not necessarily the case. The concept derives from the difficulty of separating butter from bread once it has been spread – buttered bread cannot be "unbuttered". Another phrase used in this way is "salt and pepper".
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- Martha Warren Beckwith (Jan–Mar 1923), "Signs and Superstitions Collected from American College Girls", The Journal of American Folklore, 36 (139): 1–15, JSTOR 535105
- Richard Webster, The Encyclopedia of Superstitions
- Louisiana folklore miscellany, 5
- Harry Collis, 101 American superstitions
- Phillip W. Steele, Ozark tales and superstitions